MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Former Sen. Ted Mondale was sworn in as the chairman of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Thursday morning.
After taking the oath of office he sat down and told commissioners, “This is the year we do it,” referring to the construction of a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.
Mondale is the son of former Vice President Walter Mondale.
The Sports Facilities Commission holds the lease on the Metrodome, which had its roof collapse last month due to heavy snow.
Mondale said there’s urgency in building a new stadium.
“A couple of things have come together at this time to create urgency. Number one, the Vikings lease is up after the year 2011. I don’t think anyone is arguing that the current Metrodome is in a condition – even when it’s in good condition – to be able to meet the needs of the Vikings, which is to be revenue competitive with other teams in the NFL,” said Mondale.
He said the roof collapse points this out dramatically.
Mondale also added the commission now has support of a new governor that wants to build a people’s stadium. Mondale said the construction will also create jobs that are needed during this recession.
“I believe that there’s an urgency to get this done. And there’s a good chance of doing so this year,” said Mondale.
He also said this is a non-election year and controversial matters like this have a better chance of passage.
The other issue the commissioners are dealing with a timeline to get the roof at the Metrodome repaired and ready for the Minnesota Vikings.
“Somewhere in mid-August will be the first Vikings preseason game that will be hosted at the Metrodome,” said Mondale.
Mondale said the delay on beginning repairs to the roof has do with safety.
“People have to climb up on the roof and look at the panels,” he said.
The commission has three core consultants that have been inspecting the roof. He said the first is the engineer and the other is the builder of the dome.
“A third-party entity, who’s a leading expert in the nation, is doing an independent analysis on what needs to be done. Either complete redo or a partial repair to make sure that facility is safe,” said Mondale.
Mondale said if the entire dome does need to be replaced it would take six months and that would meet the deadline for the Vikings preseason start. But, he said this is not a motivating factor to get the roof repaired right away.
“The NFL is not going to want to host 10 games with 60,000 people in a facility that they’re not 100 percent sure that it safe. And this commission is not going to bring tenants back into this building unless everyone believes they’re 100 percent safe,” said Mondale.
Mondale will meet Thursday with lawmakers to begin crafting a new stadium bill that he hopes will pass this session.